Ever wondered about the health of our river? This helpful tool makes it easier to understand

San Antonio River Authority data helps tell the water quality story of the river

Photo credit: San Antonio River Authority

Have you ever thought about the water quality in our river?

The San Antonio River Authority has a new tool dedicated to educating Bexar County residents.

The River Authority relies on water quality scientists, aquatic biologists, watershed monitoring scientists and environmental investigators to collect and analyze data to identify positive and negative conditions in the San Antonio River as part of the agency’s commitment to safe, clean, enjoyable creeks and rivers.

This data is available to the public, and the River Authority has developed tools like its new water quality dashboard that help present the data in an informative and user-friendly way, so as to illustrate the health of the creeks and rivers within the San Antonio River Basin.

What data does the water quality dashboard illustrate?

River Authority aquatic biologists and watershed monitoring scientists collect surface water and sediment samples from throughout the San Antonio River Basin. The samples are submitted to the River Authority Environmental Laboratory, where water quality scientists generate additional water quality data.

The water quality dashboard is a series of data reports of the River Authority water quality monitoring stations that help tell the water quality story of the river.

It takes scientific concepts and simplifies them using illustrations and explanations with real-world examples, so it’s easy to understand.

Photo Credit: San Antonio River Authority
Photo Credit: San Antonio River Authority

But, more importantly, the information is presented in a way that motivates those who use it to act and get involved to help advance the health of the river.

Water quality dashboard features:

1. The main page allows you to narrow the number of monitoring stations on the map through different filters, such as by county or watershed. By highlighting related layers, it allows the user to understand how various water quality parameters change in different parts of the watershed.

2. The data displayed for each parameter has a simple layout with easy-to-understand side color code status and powerful tooltips to enrich the context of the stories. Detailed descriptions and charts give the user an idea of the current and historical water quality conditions at the sampling stations.

3. Some metrics are indicators of stormwater runoff, while others relate to a waterway’s ability to support healthy fish populations. Check out the aquatic community tab to see the capacity of your local waterway to produce your next trophy fish.

“We hope that the information presented in this useful tool inspires the public to become more involved with protecting the San Antonio River,” said Shaun Donovan, San Antonio River Authority’s environmental sciences manager. “We need everyone’s help when it comes to the health of our creeks and rivers so that this valuable resource can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Keeping our creeks and rivers safe, clean and enjoyable requires the commitment of every community in the San Antonio River Basin.

The River Authority is promoting green infrastructure practices as a way to help meet this end. These are actions we can take to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that washes litter, chemicals and other pollutants into our waterways.

They can range from large projects, such as constructing parking lots using permeable materials, to simpler solutions like rain gardens and rain harvesting. Green infrastructure is a sustainable, cost-effective approach to reducing flooding, increasing our water supply, enhancing our water and air quality, and improving overall community health.

You can soak up more info about green infrastructure practices from the River Authority by visiting its website here.